Do you like the clever title?
One of my greatest loves in life is a good movie. If it thrills, moves, challenges or inspires me I will remember it forever. The issue is that I often find movies these days just don't hit the same note with me.
Growing up I was exposed to every style of movie under the sun, from John Wayne classics, to musicals like The King and I and My Fair Lady, primarily old favourites of my parents and every Saturday blockbuster found at the local Video Easy.
So, naturally I've seen an innumerable amount of films (and great quality ones at that) which just makes a lot of the new movies I see pumped out at Hoyts or through Netflix sub-par in comparison.
But, on some occasions I find a gem in the rubble and I add it to my favourites collection in my head with my other die hard favourites, being Dirty Dancing, Pulp Fiction, The Blues Brothers, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Calamity Jane!
So far this year I've watched probably about 20-25 films. As a homebody I find that the true joy's in my life are reading and watching movies - both of which can be enjoyed from the comfort of my own home, and thus far away from the real world and god forbid... people.
So, I thought I'd share with you some of the films I've seen throughout the month of February and give you a run down of my thoughts, recommendations and *expert* opinions on these Hollywood productions.
First, an overview! Here are some of the films I watched throughout February:
I care a lot (Prime)
War of the worlds (Foxtel)
Bring it on (Foxtel)
The Princess Bride (Prime)
Now, a quick review of each! To simplify matters and to avoid a ridiculously long blog post I'm going to structure my reviews in four parts. First, a synopsis/quick run down. Second, a best and worst feature. Third, a ranking out of ten and finally a tag line to hook your interest!
I care a lot (Prime)
Synopsis: Stylish, ruthless con-woman Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike) has built a life of comfortable wealth around her through her connections as a court-appointed guardian. Through the help of her relationships with a doctor, care home owner and her researcher girlfriend she has built a carefully constructed business which preys on the elderly and amasses a measurable fortune. All appears well, until they pick the wrong elderly woman to exploit and find themselves on the wrong side of a Russian mafioso (Peter Dinklage).
Best feature: The writing in this film is brilliant! Each line is carefully chosen and builds a wonderful plot, culminating in the gripping conclusion (which is a complete shock!)
Worst feature: It's lame to say there isn't one but I truly did thoroughly enjoy every aspect of this movie. I guess if I had to pick one it would be the protagonist Marla's attitude issues. I understand she's supposed to be emotionless but sometimes this goes beyond what I think is sufficient to drive the point home and becomes irritating.
Ranking: 9/10 I loved this film! I was so invested in the plot and the ending completely surprised me - the writing was truly clever and each word had value.
Tag line: Are the bad guys really the bad guys?
Synopsis: Based on a true story, this movie follows a stellar cast as the CIA work to free six Americans taking refuge in the Canadian embassy in Iran in 1979. The operation involves the invention of a fake sci-fi movie as a cover - with all the bells and whistles that come along with a state of the art Hollywood production. With Ben Affleck, John Goodman and Alan Arkin on board the acting quality is top class and captivates and entrances the audience.
Best feature: The plot of this story is incredibly well timed. So often thrillers are fast paced and rely on big power scenes like chases and gunfights to show the tension, this film has a plot that relies on heavy dialogue and appears so obvious that the true tension lies in when the Iranians will realise they're being tricked not if.
Worst feature: OK - genuinely this time... this had zero bad moments! I can't think of any aspect of this film that I didn't thoroughly enjoy.
Ranking: 9/10 This was another great film! It was engaging and imaginative with laughs and tension in all the right places.
Tag line: Hollywood being Hollywood - and doing what Hollywood does best.
War of the worlds (Foxtel)
Synopsis: Another dystopian end of the world thriller. Aliens invade and the human race faces imminent extinction. While focusing on an exploration of the relationship dynamics of split families this neatly ties drama and suspense into the mix. You find yourself just as concerned for the families and whether their relationships can be repaired as you are for the fate of the human race. The thrilling end and epic visuals just make this that little bit better than a regular alien invasion film.
Best feature: The imagery and graphics in this film (especially considering it was released in 2005!) are amazing. I was so impressed with how the aliens look and how each of the action scenes plays out on screen.
Worst feature: Some of the writing was a touch trashy with occasional cheap cheesy one liners. In addition, there are a few "as if" moments that have to be ignored in favour of enjoying the fantasy that is a good film.
Ranking: 7/10 - this is a good movie and a classic, but not my favourite... sorry die hard fans!
Tag line: The aliens are coming! Yet again the human race is unprepared... this will end well.
Bring it on (Foxtel)
Synopsis: A 2000 chick flick classic - Two rival cheerleading teams face off on and off the mat as Torrance, the captain of the Toro cheerleading squad falls in love with her new best friends brother and drama endures. As it always does in any good chick flick. Full of drama, classic one-liners, and some pretty impressive dances this film serves up all my trashy cravings.
Best feature: The writing made me laugh an unbelievable amount of times. I just can't help giggling through these classic American teen movies. Lines like "this is not a democracy it's a cheer-ocracy" just hit a little part of me that craves the imaginary world where someone might actually say that.
Worst feature: It all ends up perfect at the end - *spoilers* sorry! but that perfection is always my minor frustration with teen movies because it implies that any issue in life can be fixed with a deep and meaningful conversation, a quick apology or... cheering?
Ranking: 7/10 - Always a classic to turn to on a lazy day or a night in with the girls.
Tag line: Cheerleaders - the good and the bad - I said Brrr, it's cold in here!
Synopsis: Due to global warming the oxygen level in the atmosphere decreases to a point where it is no longer viable for humans. A scientists son is the only man who can save the planet but he has to go into the future to do it. Will the human race survive?
Best feature: The premise for this movie had so much promise! It was such a clever idea to design into a film. This would have been better suited as a TV series instead to show its true value.
Worst feature: A lot of this movie was painful. The plot timing was rough, far too quick to be believable as a storyline and containing far too many 'deus ex machina' moments where all the problems resolve themselves before they even get going.
Ranking: 4/10 I was very disappointed with this movie and found myself pausing halfway to check how much longer I would need to suffer, which hurts me to admit.
Tag line: Earth is doomed because of humans... again - why does this always happen??
Synopsis: A glitch in the power source for... the world (we'll come back to this) results in collective amnesia/removal of a bunch of history - meaning that aside from seemingly one man the rest of the world has forgotten who The Beatles are. Yeah, you heard correctly. Luckily, this man is a struggling musician who happens to remember every song they ever wrote and embarks on returning their music to the world!
Best feature: This was such a clever idea for a movie, the plot rolled on well as the protagonist faced a number of challenges including love, guilt and the human struggle of accepting what we're not sure we deserve. It dealt with all these themes very well!
Worst feature: Other than the fact that the plot itself is pretty unbelievable - the same liberties I mentioned earlier about giving the film the freedom to be a bit ridiculous should be applied - this film was pretty great, with very few problems!
Ranking: 8/10 - I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and who doesn't love a movie with a whole bunch of Beatles songs scattered throughout.
Tag line: Middle aged men everywhere rejoice - a movie for the whole family full of your favourite classic tunes!
The Princess Bride (Prime)
Synopsis: The fairy tale story of a girl and a boy who are just so so deeply in love. They face many obstacles in order to return to one another including creatures, evil kidnappers and princes who are obsessed with getting their way. All of this is neatly told through a grandfather reading to his sick grandson.
Best feature: Everythingggggg! The romance, the writing, the hilarious "bad guys", the sets, all are brilliant.
Worst feature: There are none! I love this movie so much, I refuse to hear anything against it. Take your sass about it being old and simple it is classically beautiful.
Ranking: 8/10 - so many memories watching this at home as a kid while sick wishing I had my own Westley to come and whiz me away.
Tag line: My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die! Inconceivable!
Now for my top four rankings to help you select a movie this weekend - I fully recommend each of these and hope you enjoy them just as much as I did!
In fourth place: Bring it on
In third place: I care a lot
In second place: Yesterday
In first: Argo
I hope this collection of films and (superb) reviews has interested you in some way. My ultimate goal was to possibly help you decide on a weekend movie instead of spending the usual hour or so watching trailers till you find one then changing your mind then changing it back. We've all been there!
Till next time,